First of all all I would like to offer my sincere gratitude to Peter de Courcy for stepping into the breach and providing a thoroughly entertaining (if somewhat depressing) A-Z account of our hugely disappointing defeat to Maidstone United last week when I missed my first game of the season. Anyway back to today’s events and as has been the norm in recent weeks, I will start with the positives before moving onto the less positive elements of today’s game!
- What a magnificent stadium they have at Milton Keynes which could easily grace the Premier League never mind League Two.
- It was so good to see the return of Danny Whitaker, Elliott Durrell & Ryan Lloyd to the starting eleven. They made a real difference particularly in the first half where we battled hard against a very good MK Dons side, and even had several reasonable half chances that Ben Stephens should probably have done better with.
- Nathan Cameron looked very assured in his first game for us and could prove a very shrewd acquisition as the season progresses. He is strong and fearless in the tackle and appears to have a a good awareness of what is going on around him. Well done Nathan!
- 237 visiting Silkmen fans really got behind their team for the majority of the game, completely out singing the predominantly passionless and docile MK fan base who were able to create an atmosphere akin to that which would be witnessed on the moon. If they are this bad when top of the league, I dread to think what it must be like when they are on a bad run! The Silkmen players and management could never question the backing of the fans during this horrible few months that has now seen us with a truly dreadful and utterly heartbreaking tally of just 7 points out of a possible 54 thus far!
- Now for the not so positive. A tale of two halves came back to haunt us because as well as we had done in the first half, the second half provided we Silkmen fans with hardly anything to get excited about at all! All MK Dons did was up their game by no more than 10 -15% early in the second half and they were 2 goals up. The first goal was a decent finish, whilst the second a result of not particularly good defending. As soon as that first goal went in the confidence gleaned in the first half literally haemorrhaged out of the team, and if I am brutally honest, it could have been 3 or 4 if MK Dons had not been so profligate in front of goal. However that would have been harsh on us when considering the positivity of our first half performance.
- The only howls of derision that I witnessed either during or after the game, was the decision by Neil Howarth (I assume it was Neil!) to replace Ben Stephens with the hapless Maycock when we were 2-0 down. Although it seems Ben had a tight hamstring which we fans were unaware of at the time, wtf was the thinking behind replacing him Maycock, and why were Scotty Wilson & Tyrone Marsh not on the bench instead of Vincenti & Maycock? At the time of Ben’s substitution we were effectively chasing the game, and an extremely weary Elliott Durrell (who did really well on his Football League debut IMHO!) had only been replaced several minutes earlier. It will not surprise you (I am sure) to read that following these substitutions we looked completely toothless, and hardly had a shot in anger for the remainder of the game!
- I have to admit that I am very worried for the future of Keith Lowe at our club. As I understand it, Keith is not injured; is streets ahead of Kelleher and Grimes as a central defender (and could potentially forge a very good relationship with Cameron) and yet he wasn’t even on the bench today!! Keith has been a fantastic servant to the club since his arrival; is a firm fans favourite, and many (including yours truly) have been disappointed by his lack of inclusion in the stating eleven on far to many occasions this season. This is even more baffling when considering that Keith did not not miss a single minute during our glorious Championship winning season.
- I was also a little concerned that Callum Evans was not on the bench today. Callum had a promising few minutes game time in the Checkatrade Trophy victory over the West Bromwich Albion youngsters earlier in the week, and I sincerely hope he hasn’t had any sort of setback, as he is light years ahead of what we had available to us on the bench today!
- PBJ, Robert Stirling & I witnessed the body language from the Silkmen players as they trudged over to acknowledge the support given to them today. What was concerning to us all was that ALL the players had a look of a team that had already accepted it’s fate and yet there are 28 games and 84 points to play for ffs! Danny Whitaker is one of my all time favourite Silkmen players and such a smashing lad as well. His testimonial season is so thoroughly deserved, and despite coming back only today after a lengthy lay off; worked his proverbial b&lls off and was yours truly’s Man of the Match today. I would absolutely hate to see even the remotest chance that Danny’s reputation could be tarnished in any way in trying to resurrect a team which is so clearly sub standard due to appalling signings made in the close season that were not of Danny’s making. I would urge Danny to strongly consider stepping down from the acting manager role and concentrate on fighting for the team on the pitch albeit in his assistant manager’s role. Should Danny decide not to relinquish his current role, I sincerely hope that he would continue to have the support of the vast majority of the Silkmen faithful (mine is guaranteed) for the remainder of the season and beyond!
- I agree with a number of posters on SLE Facebook that defeat against a very good MK Dons side away from home is unlikely to shape our fate come the end of the season. However, if we do not get anything less than a victory against Yeovil at home next Saturday, then even the most optimistic of Silkmen fans will start to consider realigning their SatNav postcodes in readiness for such tantalising delights as Maidenhead and Maidstone next season,. I also genuinely fear (alongside a number of diehard Silkmen fans of many a long year) that we could face the genuine prospect of a double relegation to the National League North in a similar vein to teams such as York City who are still struggling there now! Kevin Green spoke of his confidence that we could escape the increasingly gaping jaws of relegation, and that unity was a key to this. If the hierarchy of our beloved club are to forge any real unity with our small but incredibly loyal fan base, then I would strongly advise them that ACTIONS SPEAK LOUDER THAN WORDS and urge the Silkmen hierarchy at MTFC to put their money where their mouth is! This means looking to bring in an experienced manager and providing them with the resources to attempt them to pull off another instalment of mission impossible to keep us in the Football league which ‘Sir’ John and the incredible team achieved so memorably last season.